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NASA reveals final, sad message sent by Martian rover Opportunity before dying

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 16/02/2019 STORM GIFFORD
a vehicle on a dirt field © NASA via AP

If you didn’t think the demise of the Martian rover Opportunity was sad enough, wait until you hear its final message to NASA.

After more than 15 years collecting extraordinary data from the red planet, the car-shaped rover’s final transmission was: “My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”

Opportunity ceased functions on Feb. 13 in Perseverance Valley — a 14-mile-wide crater, reported Express.

“It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “And when that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration.”

FILE - This photo released Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 made by one of the rear hazard-avoidance cameras on NASA's Opportunity rover, shows Opportunity's landing platform, with freshly made tracks leading away from it. Opportunity rolled about 11 feet on Thursday, the first day it has moved since it left the lander on Saturday. Engineers commanded Opportunity to turn slightly during the drive, to test how it steers while rolling through the martian soil. (NASA/JPL via AP) © Getty FILE - This photo released Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 made by one of the rear hazard-avoidance cameras on NASA's Opportunity rover, shows Opportunity's landing platform, with freshly made tracks leading away from it. Opportunity rolled about 11 feet on Thursday, the first day it has moved since it left the lander on Saturday. Engineers commanded Opportunity to turn slightly during the drive, to test how it steers while rolling through the martian soil. (NASA/JPL via AP)

With a Martian storm blacking out the sun, the solar-powered rover messaged NASA with its final goodbye.

Flight controllers tried numerous times to make contact, even sending a wakeup song “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday. When that failed to revive Opportunity, NASA also played, fittingly, David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! and Gloria Gaynor’s disco anthem “I Will Survive.”

Photos taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity during its Mars journey [NY Daily News]

The NASA Opportunity rover bolted from Earth on July 7, 2003, before setting down on Mars Jan. 25, 2004. The robotic rover was designed to explore the surface of Mars for about three months but it exceeded all expectations by surviving 15 years on Mars’ harsh terrain.

“For more than a decade, Opportunity has been an icon in the field of planetary exploration, teaching us about Mars’ ancient past as a wet, potentially habitable planet, and revealing uncharted martian landscapes,” said associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen.

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